Q&A in Amberlyn Liles
Published 4:30 am Saturday, November 26, 2022
What has kept you in Oxford and working with City for 21 years?
I originally came to Oxford in 1997 and started my studies at the University of Mississippi. I worked through my college years at a quaint little store on the Square called Jewels by Annette. After graduating with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences I took my first real job at North Mississippi Regional Center. After a year I realized the Night Shift was not for me. I enjoyed working with the clients from North Mississippi Regional Center and the job with Recycling coordinator for the City of Oxford came available and my uncle was in the waste and recycling business in Greenwood, MS… so I had a little bit of knowledge. Also the residents from the regional center worked out at the recycling center ….. it was an added bonus. I began as Recycling Coordinator (12 years), then assistant Director of Environmental Services for two years and the past several years I have been the Superintendent of Environmental Services.
What would you most like people to know about what you do at Environmental Services?
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We aren’t just trash collection … our department helps keep Oxford clean and beautiful by the collection of commercial and residential refuse, recycling, rubbish, right of way maintenance, Class I rubbish site and transfer station as well as maintenance of St. Peter’s and Oxford Memorial Cemetery.
What is the most rewarding part of your job with the city?
I love my job and coworkers, we have grown so much since my beginning in 2001… We have all had a part in the success of our beautiful town. The teamwork of each department, past mayors, aldermen and employees have made Oxford what it is today: A wonderful place to live.
When you look at other cities, what does your department do better than many others?
Collection of refuse, rubbish and recycling! We have an amazing team. Our services are scheduled to twice a week garbage, one day a week rubbish and recycling collection … The goal is to have the streets free of debris and garbage cans not be left at the curb
What are the most common things people throw away that should be thrown away another way?
PAINT: Do not put cans of liquid paint in the garbage. The paint will seep out and leave a trail on the road. Unwanted paint may be thrown away if dried out in solid form (add kitty litter to speed the process) or hold until the Household Hazardous Waste Day in April.
What kind of training, certifications did you have to be able to manage such a large department?
I have a degree from Ole Miss and certification from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Qualify but I must give credit to an amazing boss, Annette Farmer (owner of Jewels by Annette) taught me so much about customer service and gave me the responsibility of millions of dollars of jewelry by opening, running and closing shop. She taught me so much. Also when I started with the City of Oxford, I started at the bottom. I watched what to do, what not to do, and ask lots of questions.
How do you prepare for game day trash differently than a normal day?
Yes! On game day (or should we say days?), the amount of trash gauges the success of businesses and restaurants from our visitors and residents. We work late and early to service dumpsters and roll off dumpsters around town.
Outside of work, what would a perfect day in Oxford be for you? Where would you go, what would you do?
Brunch on the square and walking to all of our fabulous shops.